Tag Archives: Life

And the Grammy doesn’t go to…

grammy1grammy2 A lot of talk this week about tonight’s Grammy awards: predictions, trends, favorites and dark horses.

Consensus is the music industry will share the wealth (Last year,  Adele took everything home).

But I’m suspect. Outside of an occasional OMG,  Grammys historically play it safe and are often late to catch up on trends.

Grammy memories I’d like to forget

In 1971, The Carpenters accepted the Grammy for Best New Artist. Karen and Richard beat out Elton John (Gratefully, the brother-sister act also beat out The Partridge Family).

In 1965, Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz won Record of the year for “The Girl from Ipanema.” The runner-up, The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Consider some of the artists who have never won a Grammy.

Led Zeppelin.

Chuck Berry (I mean, really? The guy invented Rock and Roll.)

Dusty Springfield, Bob Marley, Queen, The Beach Boys, for gosh sakes, never won a Grammy.

Unfortunately, if the distribution of awards is spread out tonight, a lot of us will be saying, “Who? Never heard of him/her/them.” Back in the Sixties, when we still listened to music on AM radio, we’d hear the Rolling Stones, Supremes, Sammy Davis Junior, The Troggs (“Wild Thing”),  and Tom Jones on the same station. Radio formats are now so tailored to specific audiences and genres  that rockers don’t hear jazz, jazzers don’t hear Mumford & Sons, the Oldies formats don’t offer Fun, and the top 40 stations don’t play the gem coming in at number 41.

And no one gets the occasional Beethoven, who rocks.

I expect Frank Ocean will leave tonight with his hands full of Grammys, Mumford & Sons will take turns holding one, and it may not be a Fun night whatsoever.

For the list of nominees click here.

Want to see 54 artists who never won a Grammy? Go here.

If you like to explore new music of different genres, without the commercials, check out NPR’s All Songs Considered.


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Give thanks, and a scratch behind the ear.

I often joke that Sundance took her name to heart, emulating the infamous outlaw. As a puppy, she was the rascal in the litter instigating the wrestling matches.  All grown up and running the ranch, she would proudly drop at my feet golf balls from my neighbor’s putting green—when we moved I left behind a bucket of what must have been 300 balls with the incriminating indentations of Sundance, the Outlaw Golden Retriever.

Over the years, Sundance and I settled into life together like an old married couple: the daily walks along the irrigation canal, two Milk bones for desert—both for her. On a hot summer afternoon, Sundance was content to sit in the shade of the peach tree while I worked in the garden. In the winter, she’d snooze at my feet while I typed away in “our” office.

So trusting, on cleaning day she would lie on the floor, knowing I’d sweep or vacuum around her. And yesterday, before I had to drive her to the veterinarian, Sundance insisted on taking her walk, though I knew she wouldn’t make it, and I knew I’d have to carry her home.

When you give thanks this holiday, I hope you’ll include your pet. They ask so little and reward you with things that no Black Friday deal can match.

Sundance, I miss you. Save me a spot.

Sundance at 14


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What some people post on Facebook—would they say it to your face?

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us own our own responsibility for the future.”

Throughout this election year, I must have written a half-dozen blog entries I eventually decided against posting—just because I didn’t want to be accused of crossing the line from observant, neutral journalist to opinionated commentator siding with one candidate over the other.

Even a post I had planned to publish on the Monday evening before the big day, a Kumbaya, conciliatory plea advocating, regardless of the outcome, an end to the political party gamesmanship—even that one I left unpublished (though I regretted it when, on Tuesday night, every network news analyst called for the same thing).

Then I fell off the self-censoring wagon and landed face first in the mud of social media.

On Wednesday, the day after the election, my Facebook friend Kathie posted what I thought was a timeless quote from JFK on the subject of reaching across the aisle. Beneath her post, Sandra commented, referring to President Obama as “Osama.”  I couldn’t help myself. I commented on Sandra’s comment, pointing out that regardless of whether one supports or opposes Mr. Obama, the unnecessary ethnic slur and other name calling only weakens one’s argument as well as credibility.

The next thing I know Sandra and other “friends” participating in the discussion are pouncing on me as if I were a pigeon tossed into a pile of hungry cats. Sandra labeled me a member of the “liberal lame stream media” who can’t put together two words “without a teleprompter.”

Now, I’ve never met Sandra.  She lives in Arizona.  She’s never seen me at work; whereas you have, and if I’ve done my job properly over the past 30 years, you really don’t know my political views. Old school journalists like me take pride in maintaining our neutrality on the air, and often off the air, as well (It can drive friends and spouses nuts!).

But not knowing my work, my politics, or me, didn’t stop Sandra.

Then again, when have you ever seen an Internet comment such as, “You know. You make a good point. I didn’t think of that.  Thank you for pointing that out.”

No. It’s more like “Oh yeah? The last time I checked this is a free country! And your mom has three big toes!”

Two things I’ve learned about social media: Don’t talk politics with your friends on Facebook even if they agree with you, because their friends may not. Also, some people will post things on the Internet they would never say to someone in person.

Nathan Bransford, one of the top pilots in the Blogosphere,  posted about jerks on the Internet. It’s worth your read. You may want to share it with some of your friends…

(BTW. Sixty Minutes put together a good piece on both Republicans and Democrats needing to put aside the interests of their respective parties and look after the interests of the country. Read or watch it here).


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A summer tradition worth starting

I caught this on CNN’s website and want to pass it along to every guy and girl–preferably in high school, but college works, too.

So there are these five guys, teenagers, who go on a road trip, a weekend at one of the guy’s parent’s mountain cabin. It’s 1982. Hot, not a cloud in the sky, John Cougar singing a little ditty about Jack & Diane drifts across the lake to the boat dock, where the guys decide to pose for a group shot.

Five years later, they returned to the lake, set up the camera on self-timer and pose again.

Now, it’s 15 years later, hair starting to thin and gray, and as they admit, their shirts stay on now, as they mug for the camera.

Now, it’s the summer of 2012, 30 years on, and the guys have returned to the lake for what became a tradition, a picture of five friends who’ve kept in touch after all these years.

I wish I would have thought of this when I was a teenager. I think of friends from high school and college who I have since lost touch, despite youthful promises that we would never.

 The guys at the lake say the scheduled photo shoot probably kept them together. I suspect it also motivated a few diets and sit ups in the weeks before the trip.

 Every teenager should start this tradition, a summer group shot of your group, your gang. And every one of you promises to reunite at the same spot every five years, until there’s no one left to push the button on the timer.

Want to see the 30 years worth of pictures from the lake? Click here.

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The Salt Trucks Cometh

Mid morning, I spotted the trail on a rural road. Like bread crumbs, I tracked the salt pellets up a steep hill, over its crest and there, making its way through a residential neighborhood, a big yellow dump truck with flashing lights flinging salt from its backside like there was no tomorrow. Seeing I was driving a marked news car, the two guys inside the truck’s cab let me pass and get ahead of them long enough to pull my camera from the trunk and get some pictures.

Yeah, they told they were making the rounds on all the access roads in the county prepping for snow or freezing rain, which they say could come tonight or early tomorrow.


Probably not.  Then again, we’ve been fooled before. I’ve got the snow shovel on the porch, just in case.

I’m kind of looking forward to something other than the grey purgatory the last couple of weeks.

As you’ll notice, it’s already snowing here, on the blog.


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A Week in a Life

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An interesting week, to put it understatedly, a test of one’s mettle.

I’ve brought this up before when I blogged about  Remembering 911. In breaking news, you set your emotions aside and go on auto pilot. Similar to a cop dealing with the carnage at a head-on collison, you just do your job.

It was that way this week. A lot of carnage.

On Monday, Kurtis Chapman, 23, changed his plea, accepting responsibility for the ghastly strangulation of Shenay Greenough, 19. In exchange for his guilty plea to second degree murder–and manslaughter for the death of Greenough’s unborn child–prosecutors recommended and the judge rendered a 24 year prison sentence.  Christina Sullivan, Shenay’s mother, handled it well. She told me she believes Chapman is truly sorry. For Chapman, 24 years beats life in prison, I suppose.

Still, no one wins in a murder case. Everyone loses: the victim, the victim’s family and friends, and the convicted.

On Tuesday, I returned to court to see Aaron Velasco, if not in better spirits, more cognizant than when I first saw him. Police arrested him in June after officers responded to a domestic violence call and found Velasco’s younger sister dead in front of the family home. Detectives say she had been attacked with a machete.

Walking the dogs Tuesday afternoon, I thought about Velasco in his orange, jailhouse jumpsuit, shackled at the feet, and this constant changing impression. One moment he looks like a lost teenage boy who appears to have fallen through the cracks, and then he’ll morph back to a man of 28, and someone you might avoid eye contact with if you passed him on the sidewalk.

Velasco has yet to enter a plea because attorneys are still going through the procedure of establishing whether he’s competent to stand trial.

On Wednesday, at the Benton County Justice Center, a young couple sat in the front row of Courtroom E watching the proceedings of their nanny, accused in the death of their one-year-old boy.  Ryder Morrison died in June. Kelli Jacobsen, says she called 911 when the boy fell and hit his head, but the coroner says his injuries aren’t consistent with her story.  The prosecutor has charged her with manslaughter.  The parents, you can only imagine their pain, and the nanny, she’s all of 26; the whole thing is tragic. Afterwards, I went up to the mother, and in small talk, let her know that while I can’t speak for other reporters, I’ll try to respect her privacy while still having to do my job. “You haven’t been too bad,” was her response.

Well, so far, but she may have a lot yet to endure.

Thursday was a change of pace. I attended an assembly at Badger Mountain Elementary School, the kids honoring veterans. Parents and grandparents who are veterans sat in a special section. It was quite the scene: grandfatherly type guys, one man in his thirties holding his infant son to his chest, the 300 or so grade schoolers belting out in song, “…From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…”

The fifth graders recited by memory the preamble of the Constitution. One Boy Scout, who had also led the presentation of the American flag at the outset of the assembly, was particularly impressive by the way he proudly nailed the lengthy preamble word for word (I bet he wouldn’t forget which government agencies he’d close if elected President).

Friday morning, immediately following the newscast, I drove to Pasco where a family of six is shivering in the fog outside their home, watching firefighters put out the fire. The family is from the Ukraine. Dad had left for work about 4,  Olga Dzyuk had gotten up about 5:30 to feed her baby girl and heard the smoke alarms in the basement.  With the baby in her arms, Olga and her four sons got out safe. The Red Cross is helping with clothing and shelter, but, jeesh, the last thing anyone needs.

Oh, and I must mention that Claire Graham joined me on the set Friday morning. She is a welcomed addition, especially after a month of going solo (Trust me, there’s more to it than just sitting there for two and half hours. You got radio newscasts, updating stories during commercial breaks, posting on the KNDU AND KNDO Facebook pages throughout the morning, starting another pot of coffee–It’s been nuts).

Interesting week.


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Enjoy every Sandwich

Mark Twain said, “Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

Most of us could learn something from our dogs.

I know I have.

On a summer day, Sundance and Sawyer sit in the yard beneath the shade of their favorite tree, gently panting, blithely watching the world go by, or perhaps me, passing by with the lawnmower. Although I don’t speak fluent dog, Sundance and Sawyer don’t appear to be wishing they could have a bigger yard, or a shadier tree, or a new water bowl. And if they could tell time, they wouldn’t be watching the clock on a Sunday afternoon, disheartened about a waning weekend. They simply sit there in the cool blades of grass, content and  happy.  

I don’t know if they have the mental capacity to appreciate what they have, but I doubt they would sacrifice a moment of their contentment on the futility of griping about what they don’t.

Now, I’ll never give up on the human race. In general, most people get through their days with a relatively balanced, positive attitude (and I’m speaking of Americans. I can’t fathom how people in the Middle East, Africa, and other places on this planet keep their collective chins up). But you probably know someone who just cannot be pleased, no matter how you or anyone else around them tries. This person always find something wrong with whatever is put before them, whether it’s a gift horse or a pastrami sandwich. The postal clerk behind the counter doesn’t work fast enough.  The city council is just a bunch of jerks. Nobody can drive. Those people…

Constant complaining, round the clock dissatisfaction. It gets old, doesn’t it?

As Marriage counselors often point out to couples who blame each other for their unhappiness (I’d be a better wife/husband if you were or weren’t _____.
I’d  be happy if you didn’t
_____): There’s only one person who can make you happy. That would be you.

Eleanor Mondale, the daughter of Vice President Walter Mondale, died this weekend at age 51 after a long battle with brain cancer. Her determination to squeeze every drop of sweet juice from a lemony life should inspire, once the sting of guilt wears off.

Kara  Kennedy also died this weekend, also at just 51. The daughter of Senator Ted Kennedy suffered an out-of-nowhere heart attack (she also battled and beat Lung Cancer several years ago). Her death reminds us of how precarious life is, and how short life can be, and why we shouldn’t waste it on the negatives.

Musician Warren Zevon, who died too young of cancer, gave David Letterman this advice: “Enjoy every sandwich.”

It has been an odd weekend for Mid-September, with the cool, rainy weather. Today I plan to take my dogs for a walk in it.


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